Trump’s ‘pathological’ obsession with being an outsider leaves him with no idea how to run as an incumbent: columnist
President Donald Trump during a White House event. (Screenshot/CNN)

Writing in the Washington Post this Friday, White House reporter Ashley Parker says that when presidents run for reelection, they usually campaign on the achievements of their previous administration. "But Trump has, from that first golden-escalator ride, campaigned, governed and wallowed in grievance, never once wavering from his outsider ethos," she writes.


While it's not unusual for an incumbent to adopt Trump's strategy, Trump appears unwilling or unable to abandon his "burn it all down" approach, even though he's surrounded by the "establishment" that he claims to be at war with.

"Yet the decision to position himself as a permanent outsider is less strategic than pathological, say people close to the president, reflecting a man who since childhood has lusted after an elite that never truly welcomed him," Parker writes. "Trump is 'a significantly more evil version of Gatsby,' said Tony Schwartz, the co-author of Trump's 1987 bestseller, 'The Art of the Deal,' alluding to F. Scott Fitzgerald's antihero, who hungers for the American Dream and briefly achieves it through dishonest means."

Trump's self-appointed label as an outsider "with something to prove" doesn't just propel him. "It also binds him to his core supporters, who also feel spurned by the establishment," Parker writes. But that persona won't work as effectively in 2020, Parker contends.

"I do find it kind of funny that he makes that argument that this is Joe Biden's America and the country is on fire," an adviser, speaking on the condition of anonymity told Parker. "Well you're the president, so I guess it's kind of your America right now."

Read the full op-ed over at The Washington Post.